Several congressional Republicans have criticized China’s handling of the coronavirus and now want to hold the country accountable for the rampant spread of the deadly virus that plagues hundred countries and killed thousands of people in it wake.
In an interview with Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures,” March 15, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, blasted China’s response to the coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, reported the Fox News.
“They’re inefficient. … They have people that are under authoritarian control. Think about it, the doctor that actually was the whistleblower on this ended up dead,” Nunes said. “If you look back to what the Chinese did, they probably had this in the late fall, especially early winter. Instead of like calling people in and learning how to help and develop a way for us to know how to treat this, they downplayed it.”
Nunes added that his committee has been conducting an investigation into the issue and was drafting legislation against China, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ariz.) on Thursday said his office in Washington D.C. was closed after a congressional aide tested positive for the coronavirus. He ordered his staff to work remotely. In a statement to the public, he said he would look into holding Beijing accountable for the pandemic.
“We are a great people. We rise to every challenge, we vanquish every foe, and we come through adversity even better than before,” Cotton said. “I have every confidence America will once again marshal the resolve, toughness, and genius of our people to overcome the serious threat to our health and well-being posed by the Wuhan coronavirus.”
“We will emerge stronger from this challenge, we will hold accountable those who inflicted it on the world, and we will prosper in the new day,” he added.
Cotton, one of the first U.S. officials who spoke out against the Chinese Communist Party when the coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, suggested Beijing was lying about the number of infections from the very beginning to downplay the seriousness of the epidemic.
The Republicans’ comments came as China alleged the U.S. military had shipped the coronavirus to Wuhan. The U.S. State Department on Friday summoned China’s ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai to protest the unfounded allegation.
A State Department official said that China was seeking to deflect criticism of its role in “starting a global pandemic and not telling the world.”
“Spreading conspiracy theories is dangerous and ridiculous. We wanted to put the government on notice we won’t tolerate it for the good of the Chinese people and the world,” the official added.
Since breaking out in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the coronavirus has infected more than 160,000 people, including nearly 81,000 in mainland China, and killed more than 6,500 people worldwide. The World Health Organization last week labeled it a global pandemic. In the United States, there are nearly 3,000 cases and at least 57 deaths reported as of Sunday.